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"Downset" redirects here. For the concept in order theory, see Down set.
downset., 1994
Background information
Also known as Social Justice
Origin Los Angeles, California
Genres Rap metal, funk metal, alternative metal, rap rock, hardcore punk
Years active 1986–2009
Labels Mercury Records
Epitaph Records
Hawino Records
Associated acts Cypress Hill
Members Neil Roemer
Rogelio Lozano
Chris Lee
J.D. Manhart
Past members Rey Oropeza
Brian Ares Schwager
James Morris
Chris Hamilton
Rico Villasenor
Notable instruments
Basses: Fender Precision Bass, Ernie Ball Stingrays
Guitars: Gibson SG

Downset. (originally called Social Justice) is a rap metal group hailing from Los Angeles, California.

Band history[edit]

The band's original moniker was Social Justice. They began as a hardcore punk band. They released their debut album, Unity Is Strength, in 1989 and the EP I Refuse To Lose under this name with a different lineup in 1992. They were known as being one of the first hardcore bands to incorporate hip hop and funk influences into their music.

In 1992, Social Justice (1987–92) changed their name to downset., and released the Our Suffocation demo in 1993. The album, which explored various social issues such as the death of lead singer Rey Oropeza's father at the hands of the LAPD, was praised by critics. During this transition, they changed their sound by heavily incorporating rap metal and funk metal.

In 1994, downset. signed a deal with Mercury Records, a subsidiary of Polygram Records, and released their self-titled effort in the same year. In 1994 downset began gaining popularity in Europe after touring there with Biohazard and Dog Eat Dog followed by a tour with Pantera and The Almighty later that year. In early 1995 downset. returned to Europe with Sullen for a massive headlining tour. In 1995 they also appeared at some major rock festivals throughout the continent including Roskilde and Dynamo. In 1996, the band released their most commercially successful album, Do We Speak A Dead Language?, through Mercury.

After making their departure from Mercury Records, downset. were scooped up by Epitaph Records and released their third album, Check Your People, in 2000. That same year, rumours circulated that Oropeza was to assume Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha vocalist position after Zack left. Other replacement contenders were Chris Cornell, Chuck D, and B-Real of Cypress Hill. Cornell was ultimately chosen, and Rage Against the Machine transformed into Audioslave.

After many line-up changes (most notably, the loss of longtime downset. guitar player, Rogelio Lozano, and the addition of original drummer, Chris Lee), in 2004 downset. released their last album, Universal, on independent record label Hawino Records.

Though downset. never experienced any mainstream success, and though its members came from an urban hardcore tradition rather than from metal, the band is still regarded as a noteworthy influence on the then-nascent nu metal and rap metal subgenres. In addition to headlining the second stage at Ozzfest in 1997, downset. toured with Linkin Park, Pantera, Slayer, Metallica and Anthrax, among many other prominent metal names.

downset. officially split in May 2009, claiming the band had "officially run its course".[1]

On January 30, 2013, Downset announced a return to touring in Europe over the summer of 2013. downset. performed at Rock Al Parque in Bogota, Colombia in June of 2013 with a new lineup consisting of Rogelio Lozano on guitar, Chris Lee on drums, Neil Roemer on vocals and J.D. Manhart on bass. This same lineup embarked on a brief European tour in August of 2013 hitting several countries and performing new material. The tour was cut short due to Chris Lee suffering a severe hernia while performing. in 2014, upon yet another lineup change; Lee, Roemer and Manhart carried their music over to new band, CutThroat.

On April 1st 2014, downset. were announced to be playing This Is Hardcore festival in Philadelphia, PA on Sunday July 27th. This lineup consisted of different members than the current reformed downset. though. Rey, Ares, Chris Hamilton and James were announced as this line up.

On July 22 2014, downset's first new album in ten years, One Blood, was released world-wide.

Band members[edit]

Current members
  • Rey Oropeza - Vocals (1992-present)
  • Ares - Guitar (1992-present)
  • James Morris - Bass (1992-2003, 2014-present)
  • Chris Hamilton - Drums (1999-2001, 2014-present)
Former members
  • Neil Roemer - vocals (2013)
  • Rogelio Lozano - guitar (1992-1994, 1999-2002, 2013)
  • J.D. Manhart - bass (2013)
  • Chris Lee - drums (1992-1999, 2001-2005, 2013)
  • Rico Villasenor - bass guitar (2003-2005)




"Rarities (2000)

  • Code Blue Coma (2000)
  • Eyes Shut Tight EP' (Live At CBGB's) (1997)
  • No More Freedom In A Cage (1996)

"Live At Foundation's Forum (1995)

"Downset EP' (1995)

  • Our Suffocation (demo) (1994)


  • Anger (1994)
  • Empower (1996)
  • Split with Mindbug 7 (1999)
  • Forgotten (2013)


External links[edit]